Best VPNs for Gaming 2017

vpn services for gamingIn 2015, the size of the global video game market was $91.8b. By 2019, the size of the market is posited to be $118.6b. The sheer number of video game players is overwhelming. To give a sense of proportion, the game with the largest market share — League of Legends — had 90 million monthly players slugging it out in the middle of 2015. That is more than the population of Germany — Europe’s second most populous country and the 16th most populous country in the world. Germany has a population of around 80 million people. Interestingly, the stereotype of gamers as teenage boys is as true as the uninformed stance that the Earth is flat. Teenage boys make up only about 17% of the games. In 2014, Adult women became the most numerous gamers at more than 36% of the gaming population. Adult men came at second place with 35% of the gaming population. With adults making up more than 70% of the gaming population, it is clear that gaming has transformed from a hobbyist industry to a mainstream industry. The resultant expansion and progression of the industry now calls for constant use of a VPN for gaming. In the next section, we discuss the reasons surrounding this recommendation.

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Why You Need A VPN for Gaming

1. Access Geo-Blocked Games and Gaming Content

Trying New Games

In 2015, EA released Battlefield Hardline. However, the release was not all over the world simultaneously. North America and the Philippines gained access on March 17, 2015. Europe on March 19, 2015: and the UK on March 20, 2015. The difference in the release dates meant that certain regions had access before others did. This trend is pervasive in the gaming industry. For many titles, the release date could be farther apart. And some games may only be available for certain regions. Geo-blocking does not only affect games. It also affects downloadable gaming content and region-exclusive DLC. Using a VPN gives you unfettered access to these releases; geo-blocked games, gaming content; and geo-restricted DLC. All you have to do is to connect through an IP address of a country that has access to the geo-blocked game and you will gain access even though you are physically in a country where the game is blocked or not yet released.


The appeal of geo-blocking to game developers is not so much about exclusivity or phased deployment as it is about getting the most bucks for their title. Gaming companies often infuse pricing into their geo-restrictions. For example, in 2013, Australian consumers paid an average of 37% more for PC games. Thus, if you are in a region where games are traditionally more expensive, you would make substantial savings by purchasing a game with an IP address from a region where the game is cheaper.

2. Security


VPN for gamingIn December 2015, Valve which runs the Steam store—the largest digital distribution platform for PC video games—announced that hackers “hijack and steal” around 77,000 Steam accounts each month. Although, there are no official numbers from Sony, there are many reports of hackers taking over players’ accounts with costly implications. In general, hackers use a variety of methods to get access to gamers’ accounts. However, you should take advantage of any accessible security measure you can deploy to protect yourself. One such measure is the end-to-end encryption offered by high-end VPNs. This is important especially when you consider that the security of your home router and Wi-Fi network is not as beefed up as you may think. Top Wi-Fi routers are easy to hack. Furthermore, just about any Wi-Fi network can be hacked by anyone with the knowledge and specialized software.

Protection from DDoS Attacks

In 2014, more than 3.4 million DDoS cyber-attacks occurred worldwide. Later in Q3 2015, the number of DDoS attacks increased by 180% compared to Q3 2014. While game servers seem to be the target of choice for high-profile DDoS attacks, some attacks target individual targets. For example, top ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’ player on the Xbox 360 received incessant DDoS attacks forcing him to reset his stats so that he ceases to be an attractive target. However, most attacks on individual gamers go unreported. The widespread nature of these attacks stems from the ease of delivering them. Anyone who knows where to look can order a DDoS attack for as little as $10. A DDoS — Distributed Denial of Service — attack targets a specific IP address of a server or computer. Thus, a malicious actor only really needs your IP address and $10 worth of Bitcoin to send you a DDoS attack. Enforcing defensive techniques on your gaming device or router requires expert knowledge, time, and considerable expenses. A far simpler solution is to use a VPN. VPN services fortify their servers against DDoS attacks and as such provide a safer cloak against DDoS attacks that target individual gamers. For example, some high-end VPNs use a NAT firewall that blocks unrequested inbound traffic. By using the VPN IP, you protect your actual IP address from any direct hit.

3. Lag and Throttling

Lag, Ping, and Latency

Lag is detrimental in gaming. When your gameplay that is not smooth, it indicates the presence of lag. A measurable element of lag is ping. Ping refers to the network

latency between a player’s computer and the server or another player’s computer. Latency refers to the time interval between stimulation (when you instruct your character to carry out a command) and the response (when your character in the game does the command). The measurement of latency is milliseconds (ms). All three relate in that lag results in high ping, which in turn is characterized by high latency. One of the varying factors that affect ping is geographical location. For instance, transmission of data would be quicker if a player in the US connects to a US server than it would be if a player in Oceania connects to a US game server. This extended data transmission time is what high ping is all about. In addition to several tweaks and kludges you can apply/carry out to reduce lag, a VPN takes care of the geographical location problem. A VPN with thousands of IP addresses would allow you to connect through an IP that is in roughly the same geographical location as the gaming server or opposing player. Thus, a player in Oceania can use a VPN US IP to connect to a US server. This would lead to shorter latency that should reduce your lag. This is especially useful when there are few or no servers closer to you.


Online gaming requires a lot of bandwidth. While you would need all the bandwidth your Internet connection can muster, quite a number of ISP enforce a policy of regulating bandwidth usage. Consequently, these ISPs often throttle the Internet connections of online gamers or reroute their connections to poorly optimized networks.

Features that Define the Best VPNs for Gaming

1. Server Locations

A top-end VPN for gaming should have multiple servers in several countries. However, you should also pay attention to the exact number of servers available, where they are, and the number of IP addresses available.

2. High Connection Speed

This is just as important (if not more) as the diversity of server locations. The best gaming VPNs should boast of high connection speeds that are at or more than your average ISP connection speed. The major reason why high speed is a MUST-HAVE feature is that the low speed VPNs contribute to lag.

3. Guarantees

VPNs always say the best remarks about their services. Unfortunately, for reasons within or outside their control, they are often wrong. In certain isolated cases, you may have an unfortunate experience from a VPN known for its premium services. Therefore, it is necessary to test-run VPN services before you subscribe to a service, whether the services are optimized for gaming (as some high-end VPN providers do) or not. Free trials are great. However, in the absence of a free trial offer, a money-back guarantee offer is a good alternative. Within the free trial or guarantee period, endeavor to confirm the diversity of the server locations, and the corresponding connection speeds of the servers you are likely to use.

4. High-end Support

Having to spend hours or days to hear back from support is a nightmare of epic proportion for any self-respecting gamer. VPNs with live chat support are the ideal choice. In addition, having a robust knowledge base consisting of set up guides and articles providing answers to common questions is a huge plus. If live chat is not available, then ensure that the response of the alternative support channel (often email) does not exceed 24 hours.

5. Multiple VPN Clients

Although the PC gaming platform (inclusive of Windows, Mac, Linux) has over half (51%) of the entire platform market share, it is not the only gaming platform. There are other platforms including consoles — the popular types being PlayStation (2, 3, and 4), Xbox (360 and One), and Wii (Wii and Wii U); and mobile devices — the popular operating systems with high cluster of games being Android, iOS, and Windows mobile. It is best to have dedicated VPN clients for different platforms. However, it is still okay if a VPN service offers a few dedicated VPN clients for the very popular platforms — Windows PC, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android mobile devices; and then complement these options with the availability of a VPN client (or connectivity settings) for Routers. The VPN-secured router would provide encrypted and secure connections for other devices that do not have standalone VPN clients.

6. Internet Kill Switch

Although, this is not a make-or-break feature, it is a desirable add-on to have. An Internet kill switch automatically disconnects you from the Internet whenever your VPN fails (temporarily loses connection). In simpler terms, whenever the VPN connection fails, the kill switch prevents your device from sending or receiving unencrypted and unsecure packets of data. This is to ensure that your connections are always secured and encrypted whenever you access the Internet.


5 Best VPNs for Gaming

1 winner
/ 5.0

The best VPN for gaming is Express VPN. The service is a contender for the top spot in the gaming VPN sub-niche. The server selection is wide as users have access to servers in 87 countries. Where ExpressVPN shines forth is in its top connection speeds and top-grade security — SSL security, 256-bit encryption, and AES-256-CBC for stream encryption.

ExpressVPN has regularly updated VPN software for Windows PC, Mac, Linux, iOS devices, and Android devices. These dedicated VPN clients are easy to use. They sport an Internet kill switch and provision to input ExpressVPN’s own dedicated DNS. Gamers playing on any of the two popular console brands — PlayStation and Xbox may use either a secured Wi-Fi connection from a VPN-configured router or a Mediastreamer DNS. Setup guides and informational articles are a dime a dozen in the Support Center. Guides contain annotated screenshots for easy understanding. Gamers should take advantage of live chat, contact form, or email for responsive support from ExpressVPN helpful customer care team.

Three plans are available to choose from, with the cheapest being an $8.32/mo annual subscription plan. Regardless of the plan you choose, you would get a 30-day money-back guarantee. This offers more than enough time to ascertain that ExpressVPN is perfect for your gaming needs.

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2 place
/ 5.0

Nord VPN is a second to none service in the world. Double encryption afforded by the service is to make your sensitive data effectively protected while being online. More than six hundred server locations in fifty two countries on all the continents, except Antarctic, are held and the number is being grown. Unlimited speed and bandwidth, which is to allow you watching any streaming services without hits or delays, are offered too. Known as one of the simplest in its installation and usage services, any of your data or metadata is not stored by the provider and a kill switch is built in for your convenience in operation. The standard package is compatible with common OSES and multiple connections up to six devices together are allowed, which is of a high use for those who travel a lot. A professional online support is suggested to the customers and such anonymous payment methods as bitcoins are accepted.

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3 place
/ 5.0

Pure VPN is the best VPN for gaming. Within the last few years, PureVPN did a refresh and emerged with a bang. Once an average over-priced VPN, PureVPN is now slowly edging its way to the top of the VPN pyramid. One way it is doing so is by putting in the requisite resources to be the best MMO (massive multiplayer online) Gaming VPN on the planet. Although, it is a lofty target, PureVPN currently provide terrific gaming VPN service to prove its seriousness. Perhaps the most enticing offering is a collection of servers spread across the US, Europe, and Asia, specially adapted for gaming. These servers offer low pings and reduce lag, which guarantees a terrific gaming experience. Overall, PureVPN has a VPN chest of over 500 servers in 141 countries. Of course, these servers have Smart DNS and NAT Firewall baked in.

Dedicated and fully featured VPN clients are available for Windows PC, Mac, Linux, Android OS, and iOS, with the much-needed Internet Kill Switch functionality. Sharing of encrypted and secure connections to game consoles is available via a VPN-connected Router. Setup guides and FAQs are available in PureVPN’s huge knowledge base section. You can also find relevant information in PureVPN’s engaging forum. Furthermore, Live Chat, Ticketing System, Direct Email, and even Social Media support channels are available. PureVPN with its exciting offering boasts of one of the lowest pricing for premium VPN providers. Its most inexpensive plan costs just $4.16/mo for an annual subscription. If you think the offering is too good to be true, you have a 7-days money-back guarantee to take advantage of while you test-run the service.

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4 place
/ 5.0

Tired of being denied in access? HMA VPN is the best solution for the issue. The company offers 940+ servers in more than 190 countries, which makes you absolutely free for accessing geo-restricted services. Moreover, all your generated traffic is to be encrypted with the use of up-to-date protocols. The service is known to store no logging data and all the registration information is saved for company’s purposes only, so the company is definitely reliable. Besides, you are able to stop using it at any moment, provided that you are dissatisfied with the performance. Being in an effort to online freedom and safeness, HMA is the best helper.

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5 place
/ 5.0

One more VPN for gaming is Buffered VPN. The service encrypts your network life and gives you the chance to do whatever you wish without any risks of being monitored and got hooked. Its top-class encryption methods will move you to a new level of internet security. If you travel a lot you don’t need to worry about your country restrictions any more you can easily change your geo-location. Besides, Buffered VPN has servers in more than 28 countries allowing to increase the speed and have three simultaneous connections. The innovative ideas will impress those who want to protect themselves against hackers or just enjoy P2P without over-caution.

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vpn services for gamingGPN versus Smart DNS versus VPN

  • GPN

GPN, short for Gamers Private Network, is a specialized network of servers optimized solely for gaming activity. Using the technology is certainly as easy as using a VPN. All you need is the GPN client installed. A GPN would offer a range of servers in different locations. These servers are often optimized for specific games for top performance. This high-end specificity and optimization often leads to reduced ping and reduction of lag. Nonetheless, there are drawbacks. First, there are not many GPNs to choose from. In addition, GPNs do not offer many dedicated clients. You may only get a client for PC or have to buy a pre-configured router to use the network. Perhaps, the biggest drawback is that security and encryption are the least of any GPN’s concerns. Your IP are not masked neither are your connections encrypted. All you get is optimization. The most popular GPN is WTFast. They have 30-day free trial available. Therefore, you can try it out to see how well it fits your gaming needs.

  • Smart DNS

Smart DNS is remarkably easy to setup. While the ideal use for SmartDNS is for streaming services, for instance hulu and Netflix, gamers may very well take advantage of the technology. The Smart DNS technology aims to use a network of proxy servers to trick a geo-locked service that you are eligible to use it. For example, if you are in China and can’t access the BBC iPlayer service; using a Smart DNS will grant you access. Of course, this is similar to a VPN service. Except that with a VPN, you would have to connect to a UK VPN server, which would give you a UK IP that would make the BBC iPlayer service grant you access. When you want to watch the US version of Netflix, with a VPN you would have to disconnect from the UK server and then connect to a US server before access the US Netflix website.

However, with a Smart DNS, you do not have to disconnect or reconnect, simply go to the US Netflix website and it would grant you access without much ado. It is incredibly convenient. You can access a long list of geo-blocked services and content by using a SmartDNS. In addition, you can use the technology on any Internet-enabled device that allows you to change the DNS including routers. Thus, as a gamer, you would be able to set it up on your Windows PC, Mac, Linux, iOSdevice, Android device, Xbox, PlayStation et cetera. Another interesting fact is that SmartDNS is cheaper than a GPN or a VPN, while offering the fastest connection speed. Nonetheless, the Smart DNS offers no security or encryption. This is because it only changes your DNS. It does not cloak your IP neither does it encrypt your connections.

  • VPN

VPN offers the most flexibility, security, and encryption. When you connect through a VPN, particularly through OpenVPN, you get a different identity and end-to-end encryption of your connections. This protects you against most of the security threats gamers face. Many servers are available in different countries, with lots of IP addresses. Additionally, you can easily use dedicated VPN clients or configure a host of gaming devices including routers. Although, the speed and ping time may suffer, this often only occurs when you do not choose appropriate servers. Even with appropriate setups, the speed and ping time differences are negligible.

  • Which Do You Choose?

If you are very mindful of privacy and security, a VPN is really the only choice. If speed is your major concern, then you should go for a SmartDNS. However, don’t expect many changes with your ping. If you want the best-optimized connection for gaming activity, then you should try out a GPN.

Is your VPN service for gaming trustworthy?

Beyond all doubt your VPN provider needs to inspire absolute trust if you use the service to transmit all your internet traffic via its servers. Unfortunately, not all VPNs are worth your trust. Some of them store your IP addresses, keep track of how long you’re connected, and which geo-restricted gaming websites you unblock. You may think such activity is attributed to an understandable desire to make sure you don’t infringe the law or inflict irreparable damage on their network. One way or another, such actions defy all VPN principles in bulk.

You may admit that it’s easier to trust the companies that have come to the VPN market long ago, simply because their reputation is time-proved. But the companies’ image and products that they provide can be changed quickly. Today’s service, which is refused for inability, can be recognized as the best VPN for gaming tomorrow.

As a self-respecting gamer, you should be focused on the features provided by your VPN service. Extra details, such as ad-blocking and kill switches that disconnect you from the net in case your VPN connection dropping, are essential for protecting you against cyber-attacks. Moreover, services that provide OpenVPN get a lot of play, making you safe from potential problems while choosing multiplayer option.

It’s necessary to analyze transparency and the privacy policy of a VPN provider before paying for its services. Ensure the policy is described in details, give special consideration to what info it stores, and what responsibilities are set. Some transparent VPN providers do not withhold information they collect. But other companies are more secretive underreporting necessary info.

In such a manner, you should select a VPN for gaming, which provides a clear explanation of its rights and duties, for example, how it keeps track of payments info without maintaining any logging data.

You should also make sure where the company’s headquarters are located, from which the main activities are conducted. This is important because some governments don’t elaborate data-retention laws.

Most online gamers chase after a well-designed user interface for controlling their VPN connection and configurations, while the others just utilize OpenVPN client. You may choose any preferable variant of VPN app, but be sure the service supports up-to-date network security technologies and provides highly-qualified customer support. By doing so, you’re guaranteed with fast and professional problem solving full of concentration on online gaming process.

If you’re sure the VPN will protect your privacy while gaming, draw your attention to what payment methods it accepts. Several VPNs accept Bitcoins providing the highest level of customer’s anonymity and security. But if this method seems unsuitable, look for a VPN, which accepts credit cards payments or PayPal. 

Summing up, a VPN for gaming can win your confidence if it meets all security requirements, maintains decent connection speed, and is forward to assist twenty-four seven. In this case, you’ll enjoy secure online gaming process providing abilities to bypass geo-restrictions and access any content you want.  

If you have chosen the best VPN for gaming then let’s review a good VPN for gaming facilities:

The resultant expansion and progression of the industry now calls for constant use of a VPN for gaming.

So, why you need a VPN for gaming?

  • You need a VPN for gaming to try new games;
  • You need a VPN for gaming to access geo-blocked games and gaming content but that’s not all…

By using the best VPN for gaming you can bypass any restrictions. All you have to do is to connect through an IP address of a country that has access to the geo-blocked game and you will gain access even though you are physically in a country where the game is blocked or not yet released.

The best VPN for gaming can help you to spend less money. Thus, if you are in a region where games are traditionally more expensive, you would make substantial savings by purchasing a game with an IP address from a region where the game is cheaper.

The best VPNs for online games give confidence in your security and privacy. Any Wi-Fi network can be hacked by anyone with the knowledge and specialized software, but not the computer or any other device using a VPN for gaming. While game servers seem to be the target of choice for high-profile DDoS attacks, some attacks target individual targets. Anyone who knows where to look can order a DDoS attack for as little as $10 and attack targets a specific IP address of a server or computer. But high-end VPNs for gaming use a NAT firewall that blocks unrequested inbound traffic. By using the VPN for gaming your VPN server IP protects your actual IP address from any direct hit.

Online gaming requires a lot of bandwidth. A high-quality VPN for gaming will give you an unlimited bandwidth. While you would need all the bandwidth your Internet connection can muster, quite a number of ISP enforce a policy of regulating bandwidth usage and these ISPs often throttle the Internet connections. By subscribing to a VPN for gaming service you can avoid being tracked by your ISP or any other uncontrolled interference.

The possibilities the best VPN service for gaming should give:

  • server locations — the best VPN for gaming has many server locations in use.;
  • high connection speed — the best VPN for gaming is build upon the necessity to transfer a huge amount of data. A qualitative VPN for gaming doesn’t have any speed limitations.;
  • guarantees — the best VPN for gaming should provide its potential customer either with free trial version or money-back guarantee offer.;
  • high-end support— the best VPN for gaming must have the best support team, which is to provide customers with professional help 24/7.;
  • multiple VPN clients — the best VPN for gaming should provide multiple device connection possibility.;
  • internet kill switch — the last but not the least quality the best VPN for gaming should have is the Internet kill switch, which is very useful for those who want to know whether they are under protection of the VPN for gaming or there has been a disconnection and they can receive some unencrypted data or send their personal data publicly.

The best VPNs for gaming rating contains the latest information on the issue and can provide any gamer with a defensive VPN for gaming service!

Update: 28/04/2017

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Rogers D.
reply March 28, 2017
For my gaming needs, Astrill remains to be the best answer. I had it set up with an ASUS router and it works great.